That Indian Railways first bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad has been facing several land acquisition related hurdles is a fact known to most. A report suggests that due to the ongoing land acquisition troubles in Maharashtra, the bullet train may run only in Gujarat initially.
India’s first bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad has been mired in various land acquisition related hurdles both in Gujarat and Maharashtra. While indications are the high-speed rail project will be able to overcome land-related issues in Gujarat, the protests in Maharashtra are continuing. In a worrying sign, a report suggests that due to the ongoing land acquisition troubles in Maharashtra, the bullet train may run only in Gujarat initially. A report in ToI, citing a source, claims that if the land related issues are not sorted out then the bullet train may run only between Bilimora and Ahmedabad on August 15, 2022 – the ambitious rollout date set by PM Narendra Modi. The bullet train project is facing protests by locals and farmers in Maharashtra’s Palghar. A deadline of December 2018 has been set for completing the land acquisition for the project that will cover 12 stations, 4 of which fall in Maharashtra.
On its part, National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), the implementing body for the bullet train project, has denied the report. Speaking to Financial Express Online, NHSRCL spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar said that the project is progressing on target. “We are on target. Till this year land acquisition will be completed. From January 2019 the civil work will start,” he told FE Online. “A few tenders have already been floated. Right now the two-phase plan does not exist,” he said. Facing farmer protests, NHSRCL has increased the compensation t0 4-5 times the market value of the land.
The bullet train project – a pet project of PM Modi – is being monitored closely by the Prime Minister’s Office. India’s first bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will have Japan’s E5 Shinkansen series of trains with several firsts for the Indian Railways network. Below are some of the salient features of the bullet train:
- 750-seater E5 Shinkansen train will have coaches with automatic seat rotation system
- Like Shatabdi chair cars, the bullet train will also have economy-class and executive class coaches
- Separate washrooms for men and women, urinals for men; facilities for sick persons, baby-feeding rooms
- Between Thane and Virar, the bullet train will travel in an underground tunnel, of which 7-km will be under the sea!
- Special facilities for Divyang passengers including extra-spacious toilets for wheelchair-bound passengers
- LCD screens to display passenger information; tea-coffee maker, freezer and hot cases
- The bullet train will operate at a speed of 320 kmph covering 12 stations – Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati
The foundation stone for the bullet train project was laid jointly by PM Narendra Modi and Japan PM Shinzo Abe in September 2017. The bullet train will cover the 508-km distance in just 2 hours and 7 minutes.